General Guidance

Sidewalk landscaping adjacent to your home adds green and beauty (along with helping prevent flooding) to any street. Whether converting a portion of a sidewalk to an attractive landscaped area, replacing a dead tree or adding potted plants to your entryway, don’t be afraid to flex your green thumbs. 

Below outlines the main types of landscaping projects residents or neighborhood organizations might undertake. For all outdoor sidewalk plantings, remember to select native drought-tolerant species if possible,  select plants appropriate to available sun exposure, ensure plantings do not impede any paths of travel and consider maintenance and repair obligations.

Permits + Permissions

Landscaping Location Permissions / Permitting / Process
Potted Plants on Stairways, Windowsills (no concrete work, not on a public sidewalk)
  1. Obtain permission from Property Owner
  2. No additional permits needed – but make sure to site potted plants to ensure there is a minimum 5’’ clear path of travel on your sidewalk
Small Projects (depaving – remove concrete to install landscape beds)
  1. Obtain permission from Property Owner (adjacent to sidewalk) 
  2. Obtain a Sidewalk Landscaping Permit (see Permit Summary page for more details)
New Trees (in existing tree basins)
  1. Obtain permission from Property Owner (adjacent to sidewalk)
  2. Obtain a Tree Planting Permit (see Permit Summary page for more details)

Resources

SF Plant Finder
Gardening without a Yard (SF Bay Gardening)
Friends of the Urban Forest – Sidewalk Landscaping
Friends of the Urban Forest – Free Trees
Urban Stewardship Grants (SFPUC / CCG)
Urban Stewardship Grants (SF Better Streets)
Front Yard Ambassadors Residential Program